When You Are The One Left Behind

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Tomorrow is the day I leave my heart four hours away. Only I could understand the emptiness that closet must have felt as we loaded her clothes into the car. My whole world packed into two trunks ready to drive her off to start a new life someplace else. It’s bitter sweet I guess. There is a part of me excited for the change about to come into her life but the mom in me, the part that kept her safe and protected for 18 years is breaking apart at the seams. My life as I have known it is disappearing in front of my eyes and I can almost hear my heart tearing apart.

 Love them and let them go. 

It sounds easy in theory but when you watch a room that was so full of her empty out, your heart can’t help but feel that emptiness too. Tomorrow I will leave her behind. Tomorrow I quietly wink at God and remind him she is in His hands now. I will pray that I did enough and loved her enough and that she is ready to step behind the wheel. Her life is her own now. Will she make the right choices? Will she be kind and compassionate? Will she be happy? Grateful? I can only hope when I feel sad that I will remember her like I see her today…excited, full of life, her face sprouting a gigantic smile as she holds her new Bluetooth water bottle in her hand and dances around. She is my baby going off to college, that same little girl with light and adventure bursting from her eyes, ready to explore the next thing in her path. This time though I have to have the strength and courage to let her do it alone. She will always know where to find me and I will sit quietly waiting for her to return. 

Find Your Own Balance

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It’s very hot here today. Earlier I found myself floating in the pool thinking there was nowhere else I would rather be. It’s taken me several years but slowly and surely I have learned to relax. In this fast paced, busy world so many of us struggle to find a way to relax. Feeling calm and allowing ourselves to rest have become a thing of the past. I read Facebook posts about friends spending the entire weekend running from one sporting event to another and I cringe at the thought. Some have every week of the summer planned out but for me and my family, summer is a time to recover and rest. The day doesn’t have to be jammed with activities for life to be meaningful. All these activities and ridiculous things we tell ourselves we have to do are just things. Peace of mind and a moment to just breathe will be much more beneficial than a schedule that leaves us feeling drained and exhausted. It’s almost as if the notion of balance has been lost. I’ve been chasing it my entire life and I’ve worked hard to find out what that means for me. So today, find the balance you need. Learn to say no to the things that don’t really matter and yes to the things that do. You may think those decisions are impossible to make but you have way more control than you think.

Fighting My Way Through

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Some days all I can do is wonder to myself, why? So many questions without answers, so many problems I can’t seem to find solutions to. Some days I just can’t. No matter what I do, I just can’t. Do you have those kinds of days too? How do you get through them?

When You Can’t Find Your Voice Anymore

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Sadly, I am learning the result of accommodating everyone in my life. I have spent so many years trying to keep the peace and make everyone else happy that finally I have lost my own voice. I cannot even hear it anymore and I can’t help but wonder if it even tries to speak. Everything has become a negotiation. Just this morning I wanted the family to go for breakfast and everyone had an attitude or conditions. Being a mom is not always easy and often times it is downright hurtful. I wait all week for a tiny slice of time for us to be together but someone always throws a stick in the spoke until the bike has a tragic accident. It’s broken and today I feel sad and broken but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I will go out and do something that makes me feel good. The others can stay home and be in good company with their cell phones, computers, attitudes and conditions and I will simply carry on. No sense throwing myself in the middle and crying victim. I am in charge of my own destiny and sometimes it is necessary to leave everyone behind and follow on my own path. As for being a woman, I have to stop using that as an excuse. I swear it is almost innate to make everyone feel important and included but you know what I’ve realized? It’s necessary to include myself in that behavior as well. Time to find my voice and make it strong again. Time for some conditions of my own. Time to make some changes starting right now. Wish me luck.

The Storm Inside

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I saw this meme a few weeks ago and was reminded of it last night. I was trying to sleep but I could feel that old, familiar anxiety that shakes me just enough to keep me awake at night. The storm was brewing outside and the crack of thunder nearly made me jump out of my skin. I didn’t realize how on edge I was until I noticed the storm inside of me was much larger than the one going on outside my window. Sometimes anxiety strikes at the oddest moments. I had been a difficult week with me being a continuous advocate for my son at school. My daughter had her last and most important swim meet of her senior year and I was trying to remain calm underneath the palpable chaos. The stronger and louder the noise became outside, the more I felt at ease. I had no idea the storm inside of me was so great until I could compare it with the one blowing hail up against my window. Calm down Kim, I thought to myself. Feeling anxious cannot become your new norm. I took a few deep breaths and let the sound of the rain falling on the house slowly put me at peace. It’s so important to check in with yourself from time to time and put down what isn’t yours to carry. When you become accustomed to carrying more than your share, you forget the relief you feel when your hands are finally free. That was my last thought before I finally drifted off to sleep.

The Hope to Try Again

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Mad doesn’t even come close to what I was feeling tonight. I was trapped in the car while my husband was in Home Depot, stuck with the feelings that were burning me up inside. I had this incredible urge to rip open my skin and step out of myself so I could escape the rage that was building inside of me. I am feeling tired and worn from my son pushing me past my limit to be a decent human being. His lack of concern for anything leaves me completely concerned about everything and by the time Sunday evening rolls around, I have reached the end.

We picked him up from church a few hours later and he got in the car like nothing ever happened. He leaned into the front seat, “Hi.” Just the sound of his voice made my heart race. I wanted to continue the argument we were having before I dropped him off.  I sinking into the depths of hell and my instinct was to grab his arm and drag him through with me. I took a deep breath. “Let it go Kim.” All my life I had heard the phrase misery loves company and I was fighting the urge to invite  him over. Would rehashing the unhashable do any good? A tear rolled down my face. Sometimes the desperation I feel as a parent weighs on me heavily. How do I reach him?That tiny  voice in my head whispered quietly, speak softly and maybe he will listen. Yes, soften. Start with your voice and your words and heart will follow. Sometimes I just have to sit long enough with my feelings until the intensity comes down. Acting on feelings that are inflated beyond containment is unhealthy for everyone involved.

Tonight I pray, not that God changes my situation but that he changes my perception of it. I pray for the strength and courage to continue to reach out to my son regardless of how many times he pushes me away. I pray that I never give up on him even when the hurt gets hard. I pray for a way to quiet the anger that sometimes builds a wall between myself and the people I love. Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow offers hope to try again. 

You Are Wrong

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There are days I get so angry that I don’t see in myself what I so readily see in others. I preach about building others up and at the same time I fail with my own child. How often do I tell him what he gets wrong? How often do I bring up a conversation about something that has resulted in his failure?  How many times can a kid hear, you are a screw up and you can’t do anything right? How many times can you beat a kid down before he just stops trying to get back up? How many times can you say your best is never good enough? Is this the only voice he ever hears? Could it be? Here is a perfect example in this email that I received yesterday from his teacher.

On Quiz #3 Chase didn’t include the reasoning and evidence part of the explanation. He touched on one of the three but did not explain why those results occurred due to molecular level interactions (which is the standard). On the second question he did a great job at explaining why water had a stronger surface tension than ethanol however that is not what the question asked; the question was about why ethanol had a weaker surface tension than water. 

 The result? A 45. Call me crazy but isn’t explaining why water has a stronger surface tension than ethanol the same as explaining why ethanol has weaker surface tension than water? 

Am I like this teacher too rigid and closed off to see his right in this so called wrong? Am I more focused on proving myself right than allowing him the opportunity to be right?

So many questions. So much guilt. So much struggle with trying to be a decent parent. Maybe I am too hard. Maybe the teacher is too hard. Maybe the world is becoming hard. Maybe parenting is too hard. 

Lord, help me to remember how important my voice is and to use that voice to make my child feel good about himself. Help me see more opportunities to commend him and hold my tongue when I have the urge to criticize. Please help me make him feel more like an A instead of a failing grade. Take my hand and guide me in raising this child and elevating his self esteem. I know I cannot do this alone.

Amen